What if…teachers participate in a FLEx?

“What if…?” For TfT designers Jill VanSoelen and Jessica DeWit, this little question led to a reimagination of what Professional Development could look and feel like for teachers, specifically around the practice of Formational Learning Experiences (FLEx):

What if…FLEx designing could come alive for teachers?  

What if…teachers got excited about creating FLEx experiences with students?  

What if…teachers weren’t just FLEx designers, but were invited to experience FLEx as a participant?

What if…this experience helped FLEx become even more meaningful for teachers?

These questions spurred Jill and Jessica to create a two-day collaborative Formational Learning Experience that partnered teachers from each of their schools together. Their deep hope for the experience was to immerse teachers in FLEx from a student’s point of view and inspire teachers to reimagine how FLEx can shape learning and learners.

The Building Background Knowledge (BBK) protocol provided structure for the FLEx days, helping to explore an issue in the community. Teachers learned about food insecurity and food waste from a local expert who owns and manages a discount grocery store. Participants were invited to create action plans to impact food insecurity in their own communities and incorporate their learning into their own FLEx design.

Teacher feedback included:

"It was really cool to be invited into a FLEx and not quite know what we were doing or where we were going ahead of time. I appreciated that it was an issue that impacted our community and that there was an organization currently working to help provide for a need that I was previously unaware of…it's about partnering with local organizations and groups rather than it is about fighting an issue on my own. I also learned that FLEx is about letting go and having students make decisions and be involved- that's how you get them to buy into the experiences.”
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